NASCAR driver Almirola fractures back vertebra in crash

Aric Almirola taken away on a stretcher after horrifying NASCAR wreck

Aric Almirola leaves race on stretcher after fiery wreck

Safety crews removed the top of Almirola's vehicle so they could remove him, and he was placed on a backboard and taken to the infield care center.

Emergency personnel worked for 15 minutes to extract Aric Almirola from his auto after the driver was caught up in a wreck initially involving Joey Logano and Danica Patrick during tonight's race at Kansas Speedway. He was immediately air-lifted to the University of Kansas Medical Center for observation.

A Richard Petty Motorsports representative said in a e-mail to FOXSoorts.com that the team will not know when Almirola will be able to return to the cockpit until after he meets with his doctors in Charlotte later this week. He was transported by helicopter to a local medical facility for evaluation. I just hope that Aric's alright.

The incident began when Logano suddenly broke loose next to Danica Patrick in Turn 2, sending both drivers into the outside retaining wall. The right-front popped and I took a hard left.

Patrick took a different tone with her interview, choosing to focus on her bad luck, saying "I just don't understand why so much bad luck happens".

That turned Patrick hard on into the outside wall; Logano piled straight into her. Almirola, unable to slow down piled into both cars on the high line. The two cars exploded into flames and Aric Almirola slid through the oil, then plowed into the melee. "He's definitely feeling the worst of everybody".

"I told him, 'I'm not sure if it was you, but I'm pretty sure it was you.' Then he said it was a failure of some sort, which didn't make me feel better in that moment", Patrick said.

Almirola is in his sixth full-time season with Richard Petty Motorsports.

The wreck with 67 laps remaining in Saturday night's race, which was won by Martin Truex Jr., cast such a debris field that the race was red-flagged for almost 30 minutes. You never know when it is going to be the wrong hit.

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